A £94 MILLION project to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across Devon and Somerset within the next four years has been confirmed today.
Connecting Devon and Somerset has agreed a deal with BT which aims to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016. It should also ensure a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all.
The contract for the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme and BT, the private sector partner, was signed on Tuesday.
Surveying work on the project will start immediately and the first locations to be upgraded will be announced soon.
This project is expected will also provide a big boost to the local economy.
BT’s £41 million financial contribution will bolster the public sector investment, which includes £10 million each from Devon and Somerset County Councils, £32m Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK and contributions from other public sector partners.
It’s being promised that the programme will transform broadband speeds.
Average speeds are currently around 9 Mbps in Devon and around 8Mbps in Somerset whilst approximately 14 per cent of premises across the two counties receive less than 2Mbps.
Most of the programme area will receive ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’, where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange as far as the nearest BT street cabinet.
It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.
‘Fibre to the Premises’, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business and which can deliver the top current download speed of 330Mbps, will also be available in certain areas.
Councillor John Hart, leader of Devon County Council and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member, said: “This is a project of huge significance to businesses and local communities across Devon and Somerset.
“Superfast Broadband will enable even our smallest businesses to compete on a level playing field with other companies nationally and internationally.
“That means Devon businesses can expand without having to relocate and benefit from improving productivity.
“It’ll mean a big boost to our economy and the creation of new jobs as firms take advantage of their new-found competitiveness.
“And families in rural areas will be able to enjoy all the benefits of our digital age, such as downloading films and music, which have so far been denied them.”